Patients and their doctors often struggle to select the best method to remove penis warts effectively. Penis warts are the outward symptoms of a sexually transmitted viral infection called HPV (human papillomavirus) which may include the tissues around the infected area. There is no known cure for HPV. Fifty percent of sexually active men and women will acquire HPV at some point in their lives.
According to the American Academy of Physicians, there are several treatment options available to remove penis warts. The goal of treatment is to prevent spreading the virus and to relieve the physical symptoms. No particular method for removing penis warts is perfect for all cases. When choosing the best method to remove penis warts, your physician will consider the size, location and number of warts. Other considerations for removing penis warts include your preference, cost of treatment, associated risks and convenience.
Treatments recommended to remove penis warts may include topical chemical solutions, anti-viral solutions, immunotherapy, cyrotherapy and surgical solutions.
Physicians who remove penis warts in their offices will likely use one of the following techniques:
- Cyrotherapy - removing penis warts with liquid nitrogen
- TCA (trichloracetic acid) - a chemical compound used to remove penis warts
- Cutting off penis warts - removing penis warts in a single office visit
- Electrocautery - burning off penis warts with an electrical current
- Laser therapy - using an intense light to remove penis warts (This is used to remove larger penis warts, especially those that have not responded well to other treatments. Laser can be very expensive and is not available in all physicians' offices, so this treatment is not widely used.)
At-home prescription treatments that are available to remove penis warts include imiquimod cream and podofilox cream. These creams require repeated daily applications over a period of weeks. Many patients prefer these medications because they can be applied in the privacy of their homes.
Although most health care professionals warn against the use of over the counter products to remove penis warts, many people use them and report satisfactory results. One of the most commonly used genital wart removers from over the counter is salicylic acid (Dr. Scholl's Wart Remover, Compound W. Freezone, Wart-off). You should check with your physician before attempting to remove penis warts with an over the counter medication.
It is important to understand that removal of penis warts does not constitute a cure. As long as the HPV virus is present, penis warts can recur and may require additional treatment.
Glossary:HPV (human papillomavirus): a sexually transmitted virus that can affect the genital area of men and women
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